Study Shows How We Define Success

Once upon a time success, the American Dream, was loosely defined as owning your home, raising a family and attaining a better quality of life than your parents. Somewhere along the way, things changed a bit, at least for some people. As our society has become a bit more superficial, so have our thoughts on what success looks like. A Pew Research Center headline currently reads, In U.S. Decline in Christianity continues at a rapid pace. As morality and values continue to resemble whatever someone makes up today, comes this.

Populace and Gallup teamed up earlier this month to create a Success Index. Let’s say it’s as interesting as the times. First, the most common answer as to what makes someone else successful according to Americans today, fame. That’s being driven by women. Women are 20% more likely to think being famous is important and 30% more likely to think that a large social media following is important. 

Men and women feel quite a bit different about what’s most important in a successful life. Given that fame was the most common response for a successful trait, what’s interesting and encouraging is that 81% of Americans feel that they’re personally successful. 

The three most important characteristics we use to judge the success of others are status, education, and finances. And the three most important characteristics we judge our own success are education, relationships, and character.

On average, we rate ourselves a 68 out of 100. Interestingly, 72% of conservatives are more likely to view themselves as successful than liberals, 63%. The good news is the record opportunity in today's economy. Whatever does or doesn’t make you tick is out there waiting for you to seize it. I’m pretty sure in the end, fame won’t be the definition of success or a life well-lived.

Photo by: Getty Images



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